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August 22, 2008 at 9:14 pm #607
For those of you that are interested in the budget impacts on the USAP this makes for interesting reading.
August 22, 2008 at 9:42 pm #5972
It’s going to be an interesting season.August 22, 2008 at 10:58 pm #5973MightyAtlasModerator
Wouldn’t it be easier to just mothball the stations, and suspend the USAP?
Practically there now…August 22, 2008 at 11:37 pm #5974
Wow, it’s a tough year.
Perhaps in future years the USAP will find a SOLution in this ARea. I have no idea what that might be, but maybe NSF will find something blowing in the WIND. The proGram might Even becOme THE woRld’s foreMost showcAse for sustainabLe energy.
…Gosh, I wish I had some ideas…
August 23, 2008 at 2:58 am #5975m0lochKeymaster
can’t McMurdo just declare war on Scott Base…if it’s a war, the NSF would get a blank check, and maybe even a seating pallet for a C-17August 23, 2008 at 3:06 am #5976
Guess those folks whinning about having to buy socks and water bottles can now get a better understanding of how big the impact of fuel costs are in the program.
And Glenn I fully agree with you. Having seen many other programs Antarctic sites you would be happy to know that the USAP is far ahead of most other countries working in Antarctica…..not to say there isn’t much more that could be done. Big effort, jointly with Ant NZ will be installation of several large wind generators near Arrival Heights starting this year. Believe the goal is to reduce fuel usage by 25% but it could be more. Majority of the fixed camps in the Valleys are now all Solar and Wind….the generator at Lake Hoar only runs twice a year, according to Rae, the camp manager, and thats only to make sure it works.
BTAugust 24, 2008 at 5:18 am #5977m0lochKeymaster
ah yes…people who have an opinion are obviously whiners.
Alternative energy is a noble pursuit, but why not first attack the grave inefficiencies in the current power generation program?August 24, 2008 at 6:00 am #5978
> first attack the grave inefficiencies in the current
> power generation program?
Got examples? Please share.
I figure it’s all part of the same package — clean up inefficiencies as you move to other sources of power. With the increase in fuel costs I think the NSF has finally become serious about efficiency, at least in addressing the obvious stuff.
This is a total soapbox for me (well duh, Glenn). I think the program has missed the boat regarding alternative energy and wasted valuable time. Perhaps the New World Order of higher energy prices is the impetus needed to change things. IMHO, the economy, science, geopolitical stability, terrorism, and just about every other social force are all interrelated, and at the center of the maelstrom is energy. Likewise, the case for global climate change has been made; now it’s time for action. The USAP still has a critical opportunity here. To me, since it’s clear that science is already being scaled-back due to energy costs, perhaps that should be the most important focus for NSF funding: developing, demonstrating, and implementing an energy-self-sufficient community. (Aside, I’ll be the R/V Hero, the last sail-powered Antarctic research vessel is looking pretty good now.) Our country and the world needs it, now more than ever.
Lightweight use of solar and wind at field camps is a good start, but now it’s time for a broader vision. It’s good to hear about the wind generation planned for Arrival Heights — I wish I could participate in that (or at least cheer them on from the lab up there). Maybe the next effort will be South Pole? Consider that at the Pole there is a light, consistent katabatic wind, and that the maximum speed ever recorded is approx 50+ knots. (Not likely to destroy a windmill.) Passive solar heating is already used to heat the privies in the summer, and on a sunny day those black painted boxes can get above freezing when the ambient temp is -20F or lower. There’s solar energy galore there! And the cost of flying-in fuel has to be massive. Wouldn’t it be cheaper in the long run to fly in some photo-voltaic systems and glycol loop panels for lighting and heating, especially in the summer camp? Am I off base here?
20 years ago there was a great resistance to recycling because it was “too expensive” or “impractical”. Now it’s a proud achievement to have fully 70% of everything recycled. The same could be done for energy usage. Nay-sayers need not apply.
Okay, I’ve had my say. I’ll get off the soapbox now.
Glenn GrantAugust 24, 2008 at 9:15 am #5979
YEAH! Good comments.
I’d suggest a whole bunch of buildings at MCM that I think should be closed entirely — but I’d probably be lynched. I’ll let the NSF take that heat. (Hint: a cold Chalet would be a good place to store frozen bowling pins.)
Rox, now I know how to turn you on. xoxo
🙂August 24, 2008 at 11:20 am #5980
Soap box time.
I look at all the new buildings and think somebody at a design firm in Hawaii must be designing these things. Everything looks so pretty and different from everything else. There is no standardization anywhere. Every building is unique. Unique windows, doors, lights. Most of is stuff that will be obsolete and unreplaceable in a few years, so you have to buy replacements now and store them. Even if you don’t store them, when they do break you have to go to great costs to fly down replacement parts. Talk about an energy drag. Store kazillions of parts in heated warehouses or fly down specialty items. I look at the old green buildings and think these are what we need to be building. Simple structures with standard lights and parts. electrical conduit and plumbing exposed for easy work. No fancy eyebrows on buildings, no special hidden lighting, no nothing except basic easy to replace cheap standardized stuff. We use one light fixture all over the station. We store 5 or 10 and that’s all we have to heat. Everybody has the same toilet. Everybody has the same heaters. We wouldn’t need all those heated buildings.
MAugust 24, 2008 at 12:59 pm #5981skua77Keymaster
Mike, Glenn, and m0loch, some excellent comments. As with the USofA, the Antarctic program needs to figure out a way to save some fossil energy.
It’s interesting that there hasn’t been much done to study alternative energy at Pole during the past 10 years. There was a test wind turbine down here for two years in 1997-98
http://www.southpolestation.com/trivia/90s/turbine.html of course it was a prototype that only generated 3/2 KW into a load bank, but at least the load bank was helping to heat the building it was in. The major problem with it was one of the same problems plaguing some of our other equipment including the satellite dishes–grease that will perform well at low temperatures. The lubricant problem WILL need to be solved before we can use more wind energy on the plateau.
And remember that all 4 of the “blue buildings” at Pole were designed with summer solar heating, but it was only ever installed on one of them (el dorm) and the equipment wasn’t incorporated in the present use of that building (IceCube).August 25, 2008 at 7:40 am #5982
I always thought that it should be a requirement that the people who design the buildings spend a winter and design while here. Nobody ever seems to take snow drifts into account. I love all the pics of the sewer plant doors that get buried each storm. I seem to remember the T site building was designed with door on drift side. They did a 180 degree turn when they went to build it but it meant all the electrical was on the far side of the building and they didn’t buy enough wire and conduit to finish the project.
I don’t know why they haven’t sealed and insulated the buildings either. I’ve always thought it odd how there are little snow drifts inside all the doors and windows during major storms.
I’m also with the rest of you wondering why alternate energy has waited so long to reach MCM.
August 25, 2008 at 8:10 pm #5983AntarcticChongMember
There is a project on the table called “Solar camp” for Pole. It is a plan to replace the Summer camp jamesways with prefabbed units that use passive panels and solar tubes to light them. Its a very cool concept and is on the boards. Also the gun metal grey exterior is designed as passive solar for the new elevated station. It’s not enough but at least it’s a start.August 26, 2008 at 5:56 am #5984
Well let’s all hope that this budget impact will force the program to take steps needed to become far more engery effecient. As others have said, it’s not happening at home either.
I hope that in the near future we will all be able to point with pride at what the USAP has put in place. Remember, those of you that have been around long enough, the program had a very poor record in dealing with waste disposal. Today the program sets a standard that very few communities any place in the world come close too. That should be the goal for the energy conservation program.
Remember to turn off your computer before you leave work Atlas!
It saves power. In fact, why don’t you program ever computer at McMurdo to turn off after 30 minutes of no activity; that’s what mine does at home….or is it because I threw that brick at it again.August 27, 2008 at 12:52 am #5985
I suppose the bottom line is that when you have most people leaving every 6 months, it’s amazing anything gets done in a timely fashion.
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